One of my favorite parts about dressing in vintage clothing is that for just a little while, we can be someone else. More specifically, we can be someone from an era that was infinitely classier, sharper and more put-together than most of us feel today. One of my favorite elements of this look is the retro beard.
Do you have a man in your life, maybe a husband, brother, father or friend who has always had at least a little bit of facial hair? My dad had a mustache since he was in high school and just shaved it off last year to mark his retirement at age 57 from the United States Postal Service. While his ‘stash was pretty seventies, it became more on-trend in recent years as suddenly, vintage hairstyles came rushing back into style.
It only takes one walk down a trendy road in Nashville or along the bustling Charleston waterfront to find a bevy of men with full-grown, long retro beards, looking like they’re about to start another revolution. Another alteration might be what I like to call the “modified mohawk.” In short, this is a mohawk for the modern hipster. You still have your barely there buzzed sides, yet instead of letting the middle pieces flop backward, there’s plenty of shape and style to go around.
Today’s mohawks are styled, deliberate and full of volume. In fact, if you were to raid the bathroom drawer of a man who rocks this style, you’d likely find more product than you’d expect. While this style is a statement maker on its own, when paired with a fully grown beard, you have an interesting juxtaposition that speaks to the modern man: He’s in touch with his rugged and primitive side (hence, the beard) but also cool and confident.
All of this commentary is here to say that I adore both hairstyles and here is why: They are attention-grabbing without being over-the-top. As with many elements of vintage style, it is very easy to go too far with the look. One accessory too many and suddenly you’ve ventured into a kitschy or costumey territory and that isn’t a space that anyone wants to be in.
A slick hairstyle like the aforementioned ones, however, is a subtle way to project style and class into a look. Plus, it shows that you put some time and effort into getting ready and anyone can appreciate that. Yet, while we’re on the topic of facial hair, there are a few pointers that I’ve learned over the years through watching my husband grow and care for his long beard. To keep your vintage look fresh and clean, you’ll need to take care of it, and here are a few ways to do so:
1. Don’t let those retro beards run amuck.
Yes, a long beard is manly and signals that you’re a free spirit. That said, there should be a definite border around yours. Letting it grow all across your face and down your neck without any sort of intention whatsoever can shift it from uber-cool to unkempt in a second. Go ahead and invest in some great hair clippers (find the best pair for you at BestClippersForMen) and take the time to clean up your beard before debuting a fresh cut. You’ll feel sharper and look neater.
2. Clean and condition it.
Sure, you have to treat you retro beards differently than you do the rest of your hair. However, while it might require buying just a little more product, this is one step you can’t afford to skip.
A great beard wash, followed by a small portion of conditioner and a few drops of beard oil, can make all the difference between a beard that is wiry and unruly and one that looks soft and touchable.
3. Keep the skin around it healthy.
Most men think of shaving as a task that they just need to do and get over with. As such, they often slap on the shaving cream, trim it up and call it a day. While that might get you by in the short-term, it’s important to remember that caring for your beard means also caring for your skin. Take time to care for your facial and neck skin to prevent irritation, razor burn and those annoying little bumps that always tend to pop up.
For best results, take a hot shower before you start shaving to open up your pores. When you’ve finished shaving, splash your face with cold water to close your pores back up and coat the skin around your beard with a specialty beard balm to keep the area as conditioned as possible.
So, there you have it! My husband has one of the great retro beards that extends inches off his neck and I can’t imagine him any other way. This is a great way for men to embrace a vintage look without spending too much time or money overhauling their existing wardrobe. If you’re thinking about giving this a try, take the time to do it right and once the hair is there, treat it with care!